Sunday, August 2, 2015

all the proof in the world

May my words be in the Name of the Holy & Undivided Trinity: + Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. Amen.

There is a story told of a heavy-weight boxer who was involved in a minor traffic accident. It was one of those insignificant fender-benders that are an inevitable consequence of placing a large number of people with various levels of skill and ability in close proximity while trying to control several tons of metal and assorted other materials moving at high speed. The boxer was unperturbed by the incident and got out of his vehicle to deal with something he thought trivial was would be sorted out in a matter of moments.

The other driver, a short, middle-aged man, took a more serious view of the affair. He was furious and challenged the boxer to put his fists up. Now, as I said, he was a heavy-weight boxer, standing well over six feet tall and weighing in at considerably more than 200-pounds. He was also, as it happens, quite famous. In fact, he had been on television screens all over the world only a few weeks earlier, fighting for the world heavy-weight championship. He hadn't won, but he had managed to send the champion crashing to the canvas at one point. The champion had gotten up clearly shaken and many commentators agreed that had the bell not rung at the moment the fight could well have been his. But the bell had rung, the champion had been allowed time to recover, and so the moment and the fight was lost.

So the boxer was not a man to be lightly challenged to a fight by anyone, much less the small man standing before him.
'Calm down,' the boxer said to him. 'I'm not going to fight you. Don't you know who I am?'
'I know who you are,' said the man fiercely. 'And I'm not afraid of you.'
'Oh come on!' said the boxer. 'If you know who I am, then you know I knocked down the world champion only a few weeks ago. You'd be crazy to try and fight me.'
'That was then and this is now,' said the man. 'let's see how tough you are today!'
Luckily, police intervened and the man was spared having to experience the only proof he would accept that he was living in a fantasy if he thought he was picking a fight he could win – a punch on the nose!

I was reminded of that story while thinking about our Gospel reading today. Jesus has just performed the miracle of the feeding of the 5000. Eager for more free bread, many go looking for him. When they find him Jesus knows perfectly well what they are about and tells them not be so focussed on their bellies, but to work instead on the food that endures for eternal life and that they must believe in him, the Son of Man, the one who was sent by God.

And then they ask him what is, in the circumstances, an extraordinary question. They say : What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing?' Jesus has already at this point in John's Gospel turned water into wine, healed many sick people, shown that he can to all intents in purposes read people's minds, for example by the way he tells the Samaritan women at the well everything about herself the moment he meets her, and has just, as already noted, fed thousands with a few scraps of bread – this last miracle being the very reason that these men are standing there in the first place. And still they ask him for a sign, to do something to prove to them that he is who he says he is and that they should believe in him? How much more proof do they need? They have seen the miracles, they have heard the teaching and still they ask for more?

And yet, of course, we know that there are those whom no evidence will convince – all the witness of Scripture means nothing to them, not even Christ's rising from the dead. Just as nothing would convince that road-rage fuelled motorist that day that he couldn't possibly take on that boxer, that he would have refused to believe it was impossible until he was lying on his back with his nose bleeding, so there are those who will refuse to believe in Jesus until the day he comes again to judge the living and the dead … and that day will be, as we all know, too late.


So I end this morning with the prayer that those whose souls are in danger because of unbelief will have their hearts opened; that instead of demanding more and more evidence that God is real, he loves them, and that he sent his only Son into the world to die for them that they should be saved, they will instead open their eyes to the evidence they have before them, the truth that is contained in the Gospels, so that they may hear the Good news and be saved. Amen

Examin Sunday 2 Aug 2015

Remember the Lord's Day and keep it holy

Other than the obligation to attend Divine Services, the main way of keeping the Lord's Day holy is to avoid all unnecessary work. The Divine command to rest on this day goes back to Genesis where we have the example of our Creator resting on the seventh day. God himself ordained that this day should be set aside for the refreshment of our bodies and the benefit of our souls. Only the dictates of absolute necessity frees you of the obligation not only to behave thus yourself, but to allow those in your employ or otherwise under your control the opportunity to do so also.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

prayer diary Saturday 1 Aug 2015

For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain 'move from here to there' and it will move. 
Matthew 17. 20

Reflection
Faith knows that all things are possible ... and is wise enough to ask for only those things that are in accordance with God's will.

Friday, July 31, 2015

prayer diary Friday 31 July 2015 (day of discipline and self-denial)

If anyone wants to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. 
Matthew 16. 24

Reflection
The cross is at the centre of everything. We must lead lives that proclaim that truth to the world, especially by the way in which we carry our own cross.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

prayer diary Thursday 30 July 2015

He said to them: 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered: 'You are the Messiah; the Son of the Living God.' 
Matthew 16.15,16

Reflection
Peter confession is one that we must make for ourselves each day – and then lead our lives accordingly.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

prayer diary Wednesday 29 July 2015

Then Jesus answered her: 'Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.' 
Matthew 15. 28

Reflection:
If we have faith in God, we know that all things happen according to his will, even if we do not understand ourselves why things happen the way that they do.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

prayer diary Tuesday 28 July 2015

And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 
Luke 9. 29

Reflection
Jesus' companions were privileged to witness with their human eyes Christ's self-revelation. We share in that privilege using the eyes of faith.